August 23, 2015

A PACK, NOT A HERD! My USA Today column is on the French Train story: See something? DO something! We are a pack of wolves, not a herd of sheep. Courage is contagious when intended victims thwart would-be terrorists.

Bureaucracies have their place, but they don’t deal well with diffuse threats like terrorism. By the time “first responders” get there, it’s usually too late. But there’s one group of “responders” who don’t have to go anywhere, and that’s the group that’s already on the scene. In conventional analysis, and in the terrorists’ hopes, those people are called “victims.” But as the three Americans on that French train demonstrated, victimhood isn’t the only response.

And there’s more. The purpose of terror is to terrorize. But responding appropriately has the opposite effect. The response of British businessman Chris Norman, who helped subdue the attacker, illustrates this: “Norman said his first reaction was to hide, but after he saw the Americans fighting the attacker, he said he went to help them.”

But the response is always to funnel more money to the bureaucracies that fail.

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